Thursday, August 30, 2012

The More Things Change...

... the more they stay the same!  This thought "came home to roost" with me recently.  After 251 days, we finally got to see our little nephew Timothy again.  His grandparents went to Texas to visit after Timmy's new baby brother, Nathan, arrived.  They brought Timmy home to visit for a couple of weeks, before we return him to Texas.  We were thrilled to see our little guy - and amazed at how he has grown and what all he can do now.

At the same time, I was struck by the similarities between him and my grandmother.  The only difference is the scale.  Timmy is now potty trained.  He uses a little "Thomas the Train" adaptor seat that perches atop the regular toilet seat - much like the "potty chair" apparatus that sits over Mam-ma's toilet and provides her with a higher perch and arm rails.  Timothy still has trouble understanding a few things - and often there is no reasoning with him... just as it is with Mam-ma.

You can tell Timothy to stop doing something, and in his little 3-year-old mind, it doesn't compute.  You can tell Mam-ma to stop hollering or rattling her bed rails, and she just looks at you with a glazed look, then starts to holler and rattle.  Timmy spits out foods he doesn't like... so does Mam-ma.  Timmy frequently asks "Why?"  Mam-ma does, too... as in, "I don't know WHY I can't walk."

We took Timothy to see Mam-ma... I think it confused her, although she seemed happy to see him.  All she could say was, "I tell you what!" and once she said, "He's so cute."  Finally, Timmy raised his hands as if he were confused and said, "TELL ME what, Mam-ma!" She didn't get it.  I suggested that Greg take Timmy to see the fish tank in the dining room, and he did.  Thankfully he was with me... it would have been a real challenge to manage Timmy and Mam-ma by myself!

In the seventeen days that Timothy visited, I saw even more similarities, as Mam-ma expressed herself in 3-year-old fashion. More than once, when she was upset about something, she began to heave her shoulders and "cry" and sob... with nary a tear... a behavior I had seen from Timothy several times.  I wanted to say, "Use your words," as I do with him... but it didn't seem appropriate.  So instead, I would tell her, "That is not helping.  You need to tell me what is wrong." 

Honestly, I don't feel I have been nearly as patient with my grandmother in recent weeks as I should... and maybe that was due in part to the stress of caring for her AND my nephew.  I think moreso, it's the culmination of weeks and months and years of continual stress and "wrinkles" and challenges.  We are all just a tad weary - and none of us more than my grandmother.

I didn't take Timothy back to visit Mam-ma Polly while he was here.  She never asked about him again, and he did not indicate he wanted to return.  They saw each other, we snapped a photo or two, and we can say we've "been there, done that."  If she wakes up someday and says she wishes she could see him, we can remind her that he did visit.

We have returned Timmy to his family in Texas.  Saying "Good-bye" again was heartbreaking for all of us.  I am hoping and praying that it won't be another 250+ days before we see them again.  Meanwhile, I am regrouping, resting a sore knee that wasn't  up to the rigors of a 32-lb. three-year-old who liked to be cuddled and carried.  I am already focusing on the newest development with my grandmother... a speech therapist who has indicated interest in working on the expressive aphasia. If she is willing to do the paperwork to see if Mam-ma qualifies, I am willing to consider this.

So life continues... with all of its similarities - AND changes...and so do we!

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